By Asia Hester
In an open dialogue about the vulnerability between men and women, junior Victor Simpson said, “Society as a whole does not expect men to have emotions, anger is the emotion expected from us.”
This university’s I Am That Girl organization held a “guy’s panel” to talk about the changing perceptions of males and understanding the effects on both women and men.
I Am That Girl is a female empowerment organization that addresses the physical, mental and emotional well-being of girls, and creates a safe space to talk about certain issues. Instead of starting off the discussion with their phrase “I am that girl because,” Simpson said he is “that guy” because his Terps Racing team’s car is race ready.
Anabel Reynolds, president of this university’s I Am That Girl chapter, said they start off with this saying because people often celebrate other’s achievements; this way they can practice positive thinking.
“We want to empower ourselves and remind ourselves we don’t have to be that guy and that girl everyday, but for one moment a week, we are that guy or that girl these small decisions we make add up to changing ourselves for the better,” she said.
The founders of this university’s chapter started the guys’ panel in 2016. “I want to hear from women, but it’s only half the sky,” Reynolds said. “You have to add the guys into the conversation to make a change.”
Reynolds said, Alexis Jones, the national organization founder of I Am That Girl, started a campaign in 2015 called “ProtectHer,” which takes the conversation of sexual violence and other issues to athletes and the locker room. “I thought her starting this movement was reinforcing the idea that we need to have both gender, all genders inclusive in our conversation.”
The panel of six guys talked about vulnerability and the different ways people are being exposed to changing the perception of males.
Simpson, a mechanical engineering major, talked about how males can be affected by not growing up with girls as friends and it could lead to misunderstandings about how to deal with certain situations with the opposite sex. “It’s very important to have panel like this so that people who don’t have those experiences can learn from others.”
Brendan Joyce, a junior and dual degree student in computer science and biology, shared his experience about not being open sometimes and its impact on others. “Instead of caring about someone, I acted mean” he said. “You have to choose when to be a certain amount of vulnerable especially for other people.”
The panel also discussed how one of the ways the help society change their views in issues is through comedy.
Joyce said “Comedy often reflects the next steps that anticipate to take in our society.” When something serious becomes funny with comedy, it helps people see it in a different direction. “Seeing it in that different direction, people gain more of an open mind.”
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of I Am That Girl’s Facebook page.
Asia Hester is a senior multiplatform journalism major and can be reached at email@example.com.